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Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess

First, I realize it has been over a week since my last post... in which I was apologizing for not posting anything the week before. So, sorry again... but I'm back on track now. Really. I mean it this time.

But about Such a Pretty Girl...

My opinion of MTV press has been raised once again*.

Such a Pretty Girl is the story of an almost unimaginable situation. Meredith's father is a convicted child molester, who molested not only his daughter, but several other children in their town. He had been sentenced to 9 years in prison (in which time Meredith would be an adult, and out of the house), but is about to be released after serving only 3 years.

Meredith's mother is in complete denial. She persists in believing that her husband simply made a mistake and continues to hope that they can "be a family" again, going so far as to even buy him a condo in the same neighborhood. Meredith's only real source of support is her neighbor/boyfriend (who was also molested by her father years earlier), but he has his own demons to deal with as well.

This intense novel is a little bit like a made-for-TV movie (or an episode of Law and Order: SVU**), in that it is completely engrossing and keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat. But, like a made-for-TV movie, some of the plot points are just a little too convenient (like the boyfriend who was also molested and the retired cop who just happens to live in the same condo complex).

But I would still highly recommend this, though it is definitely for older readers due to the dark themes. (And on that note, I read somewhere that this was being marketed as an adult novel, but my library has it shelved in YA... anyone else?)

*See also The Pursuit of Happiness

**And that is intended as a compliment. SVU is easily one of the best shows on television today.


Lazygal said...

I read this as an ARC about a year ago - the horror of Meredith's situation stuck with me a long time (not just what had been done to her, but also her mother's reaction and that of her friend). You hit the nail on the head about it being akin to an SVU episode; somehow, however, it seems more "real" than tv.

We've been having discussions at work about YA-appropriate reading, and how reading this sort of work (or those dealing with other difficult topics) can create a safe place for readers to learn, explore, and deal with them. I tend to agree with that, assuming that the reader has someone in their life with whom they can share their reading and ask questions/work through issues with. That's not always the case, and I felt that this book, good as it was, would be a wrong choice for my school (based mostly on the fact that those that would want to read it will be too young to really handle it, and those of the appropriate age don't have time to read!).

Sara said...

Maybe it seems more "real" than SVU because we're seeing everything from the victims perspective, rather than that of the detectives? Or maybe it's just that reading engages our imagination more than watching television?

Little Willow said...

This is a great book.

I love SVU.

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